Best FM 2016 Tactics: Darren’s Devastating 4-1-2-3

FM 2016 Downloads

written by Darren Smith

Darren's devastating 4-1-2-3

Hi guys

Welcome to the first edition of our best FM 2016 tactics series. If you like devastating attacks, plenty of excitement and edge of your seat Football this is the tactic for you. Plenty of goals, pressing Football and the odd red card, oh well you can’t have it all.

Best FM 2016 Tactics: Formation

FM 2016 tactic, Darrens devastating 4-1-2-3, formation

The system is based around the popular 4-1-2-3, or 4-5-1 as some prefer. The two central defenders and half back are a security blanket, your shield in front of goal…the rest? Well its a bit chaotic with complete wing backs bombing on the overlap, two attacking central midfielders making late runs into the box, a false nine pulling defenders away and two marauding inside forwards with the freedom to do as they please.

Sounds like a defensive nightmare I know, but that three man defensive shield keeps it all together and every player is instructed to mark tightly and close down so they all do a job defensively.

Best FM 2016 Tactics: Team Instructions

FM 2016 tactic, Darrens devastating 4-1-2-3, instructions

I kept all instructions the same regardless of opponent, the only time you may feel the need to adjust is if your opponent pack out the middle of the field and you keep losing possession as a result, then playing a little wider may help, equally if you are worried about the number of bookings then take off ‘get stuck in’. This is a pressing tactic that unsettles the opposition and includes some very physical play.

Before we move on, please do not ask me to list the individual player instructions, I have made the effort of making, testing and writing this tactic up, the least you can do is learn how to download it as if you don’t chances are the tactic won’t work. The player instructions are very, very important and that is why I have put this tactic up for download, to make sure they implemented properly.

Best FM 2016 Tactics: Player Roles

GK – goalkeeper (defend) – standard goalkeeper

CD – central defender (defend) – typical central defenders as ever, tackling, positioning, strength and heading are key attributes, try and avoid slow centre backs as you can be in danger of the counter attack and passes over the top.

DM – half back (defend) – This guy can drop back to form a three man defence or act as a shield in front of your defence so he needs to tackle, head the ball, mark and pass. Defensive attributes are best but an all round midfielder would be ideal.

CM – central midfielder (attack) – The complete midfielder would be ideal but players with great physical ability and good speed are best, both CM’s are instructed to get furtehr forward and dribble more as well as move into channels. They must be able to pass and the better they are in front of goal the more they’ll score.

AMR/AML – inside forward (attack) – lots of goals and assists from these two players, they have a lot of freedom and you need someone who has vision, flair, speed, dribbling and finishing ability. Also off the ball is important as the ability to be lost in the box will make scoring easier. The better these two are the more success you will gain and magician dribblers are preferred.

ST – false nine (support) – Possibly the hardest position to fill. This guy must do it all, he needs speed, dribbling, flair and the usual finishing attributes. Off the ball is very important as is anticipation but don’t underestimate how good passing should be, this guy needs to pick out the inside forwards.

Best FM 2016 Tactics: Results

Premier League with Newcastle

FM 2016 tactic, Darrens devastating 4-1-2-3, table

Considering the weak defence I think 2nd is a great finish and we only lost three times. Some of those draws were down to injuries and suspensions. This tactic can feel inconsistent with the odd unexpected draw, these usually happen for a reason either a very important player was missing or your side squandered too many chances.

Player Stats

FM 2016 tactic, Darrens devastating 4-1-2-3, player stats

The stats above prove how vital those inside forwards are, also note the wing backs assist record they need to play a big part also.

Results with Roma

FM 2016 tactic, Darrens devastating 4-1-2-3, Roma results

One save didn’t feel like enough so I decided to test this in Italy and the results were great. Considering we had a tonne of injuries to deal with the tactic performed almost perfectly. With Newcastle I found the bookings and red cards bearable, but in Italy it was almost unplayable, therefore I had to deselect ‘get stuck in’ from team instructions, this worked almost instantly and didn’t damage the tactic.

FM 2016 tactic, Darrens devastating 4-1-2-3, Roma table

Best FM 2016 Tactics: Top Tips

  • This has been tested for the BETA, we cannot predict whether this will work on full release due to potential match engine changes.
  • Note, this tactic can seem inconsistent at times, chances are you are watching in key highlights mode and not seeing all the chances your players are missing…if your players are not creating chances then you do not have a suitable squad to use this system.
  • As with any tactic it needs loading at the start of pre-season and don’t sign a whole new team, these two things will see you under perform not because of a poor tactic but because of poor management.
  • Pre-season:  General training – team cohesion  with medium intensity.
  • During Season: General Training – balanced, Match Preparation – take assistants advice and judge by form.
  • For opposition instructions use your assistant manager or coach with best tactical knowledge.
  • Be aware you need a decent size squad…at least two players per position to allow for injuries and bans.
  • You will commit a lot of fouls and have impact injuries, its the nature of the tactic. If you struggle with bookings then deselect ‘get stuck in’ from your team instructions, but do not stop closing down.
  • If you do not have suitable players for the DR, DL, AMR, AML and ST then this tactic will be hindered.

Best FM 2016 Tactics: Download

If you would like to give the tactic a try, follow the instructions below:

FM 2014 Download

1. Click the download link above and download the file.

2. Once the file is downloaded move it to the following folder documents>sports interactive>football manager 2016>tactics

3. Now load the game as normal and enter the tactics screen.

4. In the tactics screen, click the tactic you currently have loaded then select ‘load’ from the drop-down menu

5. Select ‘Darren’s devastating 4-1-2-3′ and click  load.

Thanks for reading. Please feel free to leave a comment. Hope you enjoy :)

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123 Comments on "Best FM 2016 Tactics: Darren’s Devastating 4-1-2-3"

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Nathan
Guest

Can you change the player roles or will that mess things up

Darren
Guest

I couldn’t say as changing the roles would change the tactics functionality. All you could do is try and see what happens.

Timothy
Guest

do you switch to counter or switch mentality at all depending on your opponent ?

Darren
Guest

That is mentioned in the post but no I didn’t though you should judge that on your own save, in some cases it may work.

Daniel Eastman
Guest

Best tactic I’ve used yet! Do you have a slot 2/3 tactic in conjunction with this?

Darren
Guest

Thanks, glad you are enjoying it. I don’t have any other tactics loaded alongside no.

Daniel Eastman
Guest

I’ve just put it in 3 times to cure my OCD :)

Daniel Eastman
Guest

Hi Darren, looks like the new update has hit this a fairly hard as it’s no longer getting the possession it was yesterday with the same team. Hopefully you have a new one on the way

Darren
Guest

Its not AS effective but does still work for me. In all honesty I think they have improved the AI quite a bit so any tactic would take a hit. I won’t be working on anything new until the ME changes calm down.

David Talisman
Guest

I won the prem with Spurs last season but am having a dodge season and was struggling to turn it around. Strikers just were not scoring. Loaded this tactic a few minutes ago. Kane just scored his fourth goal of the game

Darren
Guest

Glad it worked from the off, hope you get some consistency with it too.

TheTinkerman
Guest

Defence is fine I think Darren, less than a goal a game which is pretty good considering how many goals you get with this tactic. Some great results with Newcastle, also seems very consistent with Roma. Nice one :)

Darren
Guest

Thanks, are you working on anything? I’m sure there are a number of readers anticipating your first release.

Jeroen
Guest

It seems the tactic survived the full release! Nice tactic, thanks!

Darren
Guest

Thats nice to hear as heard the opposite form others. Haven’t had chance to test myself as yet.

Jetplane
Guest

Just wanted to say thanks, the tactic still works; but somehow a bit inconsistent away from home (but I guess most tactics are at this current state of the game).

However, I won the Premiership on my first try with Watford, only made minor signings to the defence in the january transfer window.

Thanks Darren!

Darren
Guest

Glad its still working for you. I think the tactic is a little inconsistent in general, when its on point its deadly but can easily go wrong. So far seems to be more on point though so hope future updates don’t ruin that.

Salon Quality Hair
Guest

Alright when I attempt this part “2. Once the file is downloaded move it to the following folder documents>sports interactive>football manager 2016>tactics” there is no tactics folder, I have tried adding a new folder and sending the formation into there but when I am in game there is no tactic there. Am I doing something wrong ?

Darren
Guest

If you have a legal copy of the game the instructions should work and I have never heard of the tactics folder not been there.

Salon Quality Hair
Guest

It is a copy I bought via Steam

Darren
Guest

That is strange I can’t work out what the issue is…do you have two Football Manager 2016 files? In years gone by I had two one had files in the other didn’t.

Salon Quality Hair
Guest

Nah there is only the 1 file there. Football Manager 2014 and 15 is there and they don’t even have the tactics folder in them.

Darren
Guest

That would have been my next step, certainly wasn’t right to not have tactics folder. Glad you managed to download.

Salon Quality Hair
Guest

I managed to fix it mate, just had to re download the game.

Huw Davies
Guest

I’ve got the same problem but don’t fancy re-downloading the game. I won’t lose my save files will I?

Darren
Guest

No you shouldn’t lose them but copy and paste them somewhere safe for insurance before reinstalling.

banana
Guest

Moved the DM back to a CD-S and the tactic seems to work well again. DMs are just shit in FM2016 I think.

Matthew Pryor
Guest

Using the tactic with Bolton. I’m not doing terrible with it, but just not scoring enough. Think that is mainly down to the players at my disposal though. Not signed anyone, except a GK on loan when Amos got injured

Darren
Guest

This does require a certain caliber of player and sounds like you may be short of that in the Championship.

Matthew Pryor
Guest

Oh, dont get me wrong, it’s working. I’m getting a lot of shots, but not so many on target, and even less of the ones on target hit the back of the net. I’m 4th in the Championship after 8 games with 4 wins, 3 draws and 1 loss, so can’t complain. Good job.

Trajanus
Guest

Hi Mate. When you want to play wider with your tactic. Do you mean the setting “width” or do i change the passing distribution to the flanks? Cheers for a great tactic.

Darren
Guest

I would say exploit the flanks.

Duncan Robertson
Guest

What do you select Darren for the player intsructions?

Darren
Guest

As stated in the post I will not list all player instructions, you need to download the tactic for that.

Duncan Robertson
Guest

Are there any plans for someone to do a 4-2-3-1 as that’s the formation that I’ve used in previous FMs but have been unable to get it to work in this one no matter what I try?

Darren
Guest

Not as yet only because it seems hard to find consistency in the current patch,

Jack
Guest

Hey Darren, thanks for the tactics, always been a fan of them in the past. However when I try to download this one, my comp tells me I have no app to open the file, any suggestions on what to do?

Darren
Guest

Once downloaded you need to move the file not open it, so cut and paste the file into the destination in the instructions.

Jack
Guest

Thanks, managed to get it working now. One more question is there a place for a traditional number ten in your tactics. Or is better to them sell off these types of players to replace with more box to box type players?

Darren
Guest

Sorry the start and end of your paragraph seem like different questions. If you mean the F9 then yes you need that sort of player, not a poacher or advanced forward they will not work.

Jack
Guest

Sorry. What i meant is would be possible to play a player like Ozil in the CM position in your tactics?

Darren
Guest

I understand, you could go either way really. But this year the better a players ability in a role and position the better chance you have of them succeeding. I’d try Ozil in both MC and which ever wing he prefers to see which hes most effective from.

Lupie
Guest

Thanks for the tactic, I’m really enjoying it since I’ve previously struggled to find any decent working 4-2-3-1 formation in FM16. However, I struggle a bit with the bookings even though I’ve deselected ‘Get stuck in’. My back four and HB gets around three or four bookings almost every game, is this normal for this tactic? I realize it builds on very high pressure and physical play but when my centre half gets booked after less than 10 minutes you start to get a little bit worried imo.

Darren
Guest

Yes bookings are an issue, it also comes down to the players. Unfortunately as you pointed out it is a high pressing tactic so the bookings are part and parcel but maybe just check if they have individual player instructions to tackle hard too, that could be making things worse.

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Alm
Guest

Are those results with Roma done with the patch 16.1.1?

Tactic it’s very good defensively, but the offense sometimes lacks clear cuts or even good shots from the false 9. Even so, awesome work!

Darren
Guest

All tested in BETA, hence the comment suggesting it may not perform as well in the full release…we will be looking at new tactics soon though, or at least as soon as SI release a new patch.

Huw Davies
Guest

I’ve just been promoted with Hull into the premier league, do you reckon this tactic could work for a newly promoted side? Or is it a bit too attacking?

Darren
Guest

Might be a push TBF but theres only one way to find out.

Lapdogg
Guest

It’s working okay to be fair. Losing against big clubs but scoring a fair few vs. smaller clubs. Happy

Stu Bell
Guest

This is an excellent tactic, won 3 in a row after changing it mid season with sunderland. Fortunately i already had a similar set up but it was so inconsistent and flawed, i was able to change to this just before a match and controlled it. Thats the difference i think. Ive beat watford away 2-0, Leicester at home 4-0 and Man utd away 2-1 since changing to this mid season and dominated the matches.

Id also recommend, in the tactics bit have your 2nd and 3rd formations as copies of this one and your squad will learn it faster.

Darren
Guest

Glad its working for you.

Marc Richard
Guest

Hi, I’ve just bought the game and started with this tactic and so far so good, although I am playing the game on my Ipad and unable to download the tactic to see the individual player instructions, is there any way I can see it without downloading the file?

Thanks

Darren
Guest

Sorry there are too many instructions to list them all.

Richard Williams
Guest

What about set pieces pal, corner instructions?

Darren
Guest

Just leave them as default, worked fine for me.

Richard Williams
Guest

Do you ever go defensive or counter when a goal up or away from home?cheers for the reply

Darren
Guest

No I just stick with control.

Si
Guest

For clarity – this is played with a Control strategy… not Attack… right??

Darren
Guest

Yes it is played with control.

Si
Guest

Well, tried this with Derby County in the Championship. Just got to the end of the January transfer window and only added a couple of decent youngsters: Rico Henry and Joel Pereira.
Currently second in the league having lost just two away games.
Mind you, I’ve drawn ten – mainly by conceding a lot of late goals!
I’ve scored freely, with 30+ goals from the inside forwards.
Great tactic – we’ll see how it goes in the Prem?!
My tactical advisors keep wanting me to swap my CF to advanced instead of F9, as well as my midfielders and FBs to different roles… I’ve kept to your plan to date.
(As I don’t know how to download tactics, I’ve added my own player instructions).
Cheers – top tactic!!

Darren
Guest

To be honest it will be quite different if you have not downloaded the tactic as there are a lot of important instructions. Downloading is very easy just follow the instructions.

Dawid
Guest

Hi, I lost a lot of goals. Usually in first 15 minutes at first or second half…maybe you now why ? I’m playing AC Milan and my DC: Romagnoli Mammana. In my first 20 games I lost 22 goals…

Darren
Guest

To be honest its hard to pin point where the issue lies without watching the match engine. Mammana may be a little too green to be starting every game first season but unless you watch the ME in at least extended highlights and analyse what is going on we’ll both be guessing at the issue.

Dion
Guest

Great Tactic, I used it with Spurs finished 3rd first season and finished 2nd and won Champions League in the 2nd season.

Darren
Guest

Thanks, glad you are enjoying it.

Burak Yağız Karaman
Guest
Burak Yağız Karaman

man ı want to say thank you so much. this tactics what i want to my players play football like . thank you so much. sorry for bad english:)

Darren
Guest

No problem, glad its working for you.

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[…] sure you read about the tactic in detail here. It is important to ensure you get every detail right in order to the most out of the […]

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[…] sure you read about the tactic in detail here. It is important to ensure you get every detail right in order to the most out of the […]

Kenny
Guest

Nice to still see you making great tactics Darren

Darren
Guest

Thanks Kenny, I’ll keep trying.

John
Guest

Darren I can win easily at home but struggle away from home, any suggestions

Darren
Guest

Without seeing your game theres no way of knowing it could be a number of things, lots that aren’t even related to the tactic.

You need to watch the match engine closely and work out what the issue is, also see how your team talks are working etc. If you do need to think about an alternative tactic you could try my 4-1-4-1 but I see no point until you understand for yourself what the issue actually is.

Ashley
Guest

Hey man,
firstly this kicks ass. Great formation and tactics. Used the DL to great effect.
been reading the comments and I know you need to see match engine and games etc, only thing iu have an issue with is, qualified for Europa league wit the toon, this season, things don’t seem to be going so smoothly, brought in a few extra players for depth. Though only around 6 games in., do you know of nay thing in particular to try?

Darren
Guest

As mentioned to others I can’t say what is happening in your game as I can’t see what mistakes you may be making with team talks and signings, squad selection etc.

Daniel Savage
Guest

Hi, This is a truly amazing tactic, I am playing as chelsea and have won all competitions at least twice in my first 4 seasons. Do you have any suggestions for a good False Nine as my strikers only seems to score 6 goals between them for the whole season

Darren
Guest

I don’t know who is available in your save being so far in nor who is developing well but might be worth seeing if Dybala can be bought. Other than that I found Ayoze Perez and Gabriel Barbosa quite good.

Jotzer
Guest

Hi, how important do you consider the full backs to have their strong foot on the right side. I play with a very similar tactic with Gladbach and I am searching for a new dl, my first choice, Andrew Robertson seems to bee to expensive so I thought to go after Erik Durm but the problem is, he is right footed and his left one is only decent, I would consider it important but maybe it could be a chance it doesn´t mather that much, my other dl options dont look that great.

Darren
Guest

I deem it very important to be honest, you need left foot for left otherwise momentum is lost in the wing backs attack as he cuts back to cross.

Jotzer
Guest

Yeah that was what I suspected, shame about Durm he would be a good deal, I´m gonna fight with Hull for Robertson´s price then(he looks good in almost everything) or maybe Muniesa. Thanks for replying.

Hoshpower
Guest

Would this tactic work well with F.C. Porto??

Darren
Guest

I haven’t tried it in Portugal so couldn’t say for sure but the squad looks suitable.

Christopher
Guest

Hey Darren,

Any chance you’ve got any feedback as to how this performs with the new patch and/or an updated version to work with what you’ve found?

Also, is there a 4-2-3-1 style tactic in the pipeline?

Thanks for all your advice and so on over the years, its been of much help!

Thanks,
Christopher

Mike
Guest

Hi Mate, I notice from the screenshot you play Wijnaldum on the right and Thauvin on the left, is this better than the other way around? I generally thought that having a right footed player on the left and a lefty on the right was better. As inside forwards cut inside and look to shoot I thought that was better?

Nice tactic by the way.

Thomas
Guest

I have tried your tactics. And this one work almost perfect with Ajax. The only problem is early and late goals. I have not played the fm16 much, so I dont know if it is the engine. But I will play my first season with Ajax and look at the stats. Then see what is going on.

Jody
Guest

This is the best tactic I have used. It’s helped me to achieve the following with Aston Villa:

Season 1: Premier League Runners Up and FA Cup Winners.

Season 2: 4th in Premier League and Europe League Runners Up.

Season 3: Premier League Winners

Season 4: League Cup Winners, Premier League Runners Up, Champions League Winners.

My full backs have been superb. Michael Richards Is loving life as a right wing back.

I made my full backs less aggressive as they were the main ones be in sent off.

Callum Wilson has been amazing as a False Nine.

Special mentions must also go to Andreja Zivkovic & Alex Mowatt.

Callum
Guest

Hi Darren

I started this with my Sheff Wed team, I bought a few players to fit around the tactic i.e. inside forwards.

Started of great, was top of the championship, scoring lots and playing good football. My CM (McGugan) and my right IF (Matias) both my best players. Once December hit I had a couple of key injuries (McGugan & Matias), since Dec (I’m not in March) my form has completely dipped, can’t score, conceding goals left right and centre and nothing I am doing is stopping this, I’m making training more defensive focused to stop the goals but they keep conceding!

This was a great tactic at the beginning but now its ruining my season! any ideas??? My 2 key players are still out injured but I have adequate back up.

Thanks

Matt Lino
Guest

This formation works a treat, i am now on a 58 unbeaten run with manchester united .
I have won the title 3 times in row.
Thanks for sharing this amazing tactic .

Tips
Guest

By far the best formation I have ever used! Won promotion with Hull city in my first season, Won the premier league in my second season. Moved to Arsenal in my 3rd and won the league in March with only 2 defeats overall.

Victor
Guest

Great tactic, I’ve had great success with Southampton! I am currently managing Juventus, and now I can choose pitch size. What would you recommend?

FManager
Guest

I’m gonna try this tactic with Chelsea. I’ll keep you up to date

Charlie
Guest

This is unbelievable for away games, recently won with Newcastle away at Arsenal, Man U and Spurs using this formation. Was 3-0 up against Arsenal by halftime, teams cant handle the constant pressure

Ibracadabra
Guest

Je vais la telecharger je te dirait si elle est bonn3

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daniele
Guest

best filed’s dimensions?

daniele
Guest

best fild’s dimensions?

Darren Smith
Guest

There aren’t any. I don’t create tactics to suit a size of pitch and find it makes no difference to be honest.

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